Posted on 4 June 2020

Protection of Civilians Report | 12 May - 1 June 2020

  • On 30 May, Israeli border policemen opened fire at, and killed, a 31-year-old autistic Palestinian man, who ran away after being ordered to stop in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Israeli authorities opened an investigation. Since the beginning of the year, 15 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier have been killed in various incidents across the West Bank.
  • Two Palestinian were killed, and another two Palestinians, as well as one soldier, were injured in four separate Palestinian attacks against Israeli forces. Two of the fatalities, on 14 and 29 May, were the perpetrators of ramming attacks against Israeli soldiers on duty at checkpoints near Beit ‘Awwa (Hebron) and An Nabi Saleh (Ramallah) villages. One Israeli soldier was injured in the former incident. Another two Palestinians were shot and injured in two separate incidents in East Jerusalem, after they attempted to stab Israeli forces near a military tower in Jabal al Mukkabir neighbourhood and at the Qalandiya checkpoint; no Israeli injuries were reported.
  • A Palestinian boy and an Israeli soldier were killed during two separate search-and-arrest operations, and another 18 Palestinians were injured. On 12 May, an Israeli soldier was killed during a search-and-arrest operation in Ya’bad village (Jenin), after Palestinians threw a stone from a roof, which hit him in the face. Another 14 Palestinians were injured during clashes that erupted in the same village in several follow-up operations. In clashes that erupted on 13 May, during a search-and-arrest operation in Al Fawwar refugee camp (Hebron), Israeli forces shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy and injured four Palestinians. 
  • Additional 45 Palestinians were injured in multiple incidents and clashes with Israeli forces across the West Bank. Twenty-three (23) were injured in a demonstration in As Sawiya village (Nablus), against the expropriation of land for the expansion of the nearby Rechalim settlement. Five Palestinians were injured in Turmus’ayya village, in clashes that erupted after an Israeli settler forced farmers working their land nearby to leave the area. Three Palestinians were injured by live ammunition in Abu Dis town (Jerusalem) and three others by physical assault in Huwwara (Nablus), in clashes with Israeli forces. 
  • Overall, Israeli forces carried out 145 search-and-arrest operations across the West Bank over the three-week reporting period and arrested around 199 Palestinians. Of these operations, 44 were recorded in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods, 28 in Hebron, 19 in the Ramallah governorate and 15 in Jenin, mainly in Ya’bad village.  
  • In the Gaza Strip, on at least 59 occasions, Israeli forces opened fire in the areas adjacent to Israel’s perimeter fence, and off the sea coast, while enforcing access restrictions. As a result, two fishermen were injured in two separate incidents and a boat and fishing equipment sustained damage. There has been a noticeable increase in the number of shooting incidents at the sea since April. On four occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out land-levelling and excavation operations near the perimeter fence, east of Gaza, Beit Hanoun and Al Bureij camp. 
  • In Gaza, a 14-year-old boy died while mishandling an explosive remnant of war (ERW) he found near his house in Beit Lahiya.
  • On 12 May, the Rafah Crossing with Egypt reopened in one direction for three consecutive days, to allow the return of 1,168 Palestinians into Gaza. The Crossing has been largely closed in both directions since 15 March to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Initial reports indicate that the Palestinian Authority’s suspension of all coordination with the Israeli authorities has significantly impacted the exit of Palestinians from Gaza. Holders of exit permits have faced difficulties leaving Gaza through Erez Crossing, while no new applications are being received by the Palestinian Authority. This measure has been adopted in response to the Israeli Government’s announcement of its intention to annex parts of the West Bank.
  • Fifty-nine (59) Palestinian-owned structures were demolished, or seized, by the Israeli authorities in Area C and East Jerusalem, due to the lack of building permits, displacing 37 people and affecting over 260. In Area C, 45 structures were demolished in 16 communities, seven enacting Military Order 1797, which provides for the expedited removal of unlicensed structures deemed as “new”. Half of the 14 structures demolished in East Jerusalem were in Al Walaja village, located on the “Jerusalem side” of the Barrier. These were the first demolitions by the Israeli authorities recorded within the Jerusalem municipal area since 4 March. The remaining seven structures in East Jerusalem were demolished by their owners. During the month of Ramadan, which ended on 23 May, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized 42 structures, compared to 13 in the 2019 Ramadan, one in 2018 and zero in 2017.
  • On 25 May, the Israeli High Court of Justice accepted a petition not to punitively demolish an apartment in Beit Kahil village in Hebron. The house, where a woman and three children live, belongs to the family of a Palestinian man accused of killing an Israeli near the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in August 2019. The court’s decision is the first of its kind since 2016.   
  • Thirteen (13) Palestinians were injured, and around 480 olive trees vandalized, by assailants believed to be Israeli settlers.  Five of the injuries were children physically assaulted by settlers in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2); six were injured, when settlers raided the villages of Huwwara and Yatma (Nablus); and two when attacked by settlers near a spring close to Deir Nidham village (Ramallah). Settlers raided Al Jab’a (Bethlehem) and Beitin (Ramallah) villages, and the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood in Hebron city, damaging houses, walls and cars. In two incidents, residents reported that settlers cut down over 50 olive trees belonging to Yatma and Nahhalin villages, respectively, while another 280 were vandalized near Shufa village (Tulkarm). Near Haris village (Salfit), settlers uprooted 150 olive trees. In three separate incidents in south Hebron, assailants believed to be settlers set fire to, or grazed their sheep on, Palestinian-owned land, causing damage to dozens of dunums planted with seasonal crops. 
  • Several incidents of stone, Molotov and paint bottle-throwing by Palestinians at Israeli-plated vehicles travelling on West Bank roads were reported. As a result, a five-year old child was lightly injured, and 18 vehicles sustained damage, according to an Israeli NGO.